"I would prefer for us to lead from behind" US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer .
The Americans may have indeed had fears about the possible spread of Islamic fundamentalism if the Union of Islamic Courts asserted its control over this geo-politically important region of the world . However as always lurking in the background is a much more mercenary and mundane motive - Oil .
Ahh , but Somalia currently has no proven oil reserves, and only 200 billion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves . But is that really so !
A 1993 article by Mark Fineman in the Los Angeles Times lays bare the rich pickings and rewards that may be available if peace and stability is restored to a Somalia sympathetic to the USA .
US oil companies, including Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips were positioned to exploit Somalia’s rich oil reserves during the reign of pro-US President Mohammed Siad Barre. These companies had secured billion-dollar concessions to explore and drill in large portions of the Somali countryside prior to the coup led by warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid that toppled Barre. Conoco’s Mogadishu office housed the US embassy and military headquarters. Diplomats and oilmen hand-in-hand once again .
"It's there. There's no doubt there's oil there," said Thomas E. O'Connor, the principal petroleum engineer for the World Bank, who headed an in-depth, three-year study of oil prospects in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast."You don't know until you study a lot further just how much is there," O'Connor said. "But it has commercial potential. It's got high potential . . . once the Somalis get their act together."
Although the above was written in 1993 , this more recent article confirms the continued interest of American oil companies in the Horn of Africa .
“A new US cleansing of Somalian ‘tyranny’ would open the door for these US oil companies to map and develop the possibly huge oil potential in Somalia..." F. William Engdahl , author of ‘A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order,’